Maker's Mark Distillery - Summer Sun

It’s sometimes hard to understand the art and craft that goes into a distilled spirit until you visit the distillery. Even then, sometimes it’s hard to see it all depending upon which day or what time of day, you happen to visit the distillery. Maker’s Mark Distillery is already one of the most beautiful distillery visitor experiences that there is but this summer, they’ve taken their appreciation for art to a new level.

The latest exhibit at Maker’s Mark Distillery is not so much about showing off the art of making whiskey as it is about making art in general.

“The Spirit of the Maker”

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When Maker’s Mark Distillery celebrated its 60th anniversary in 2014, they hired world renowned glass artist Dale Chihuly to create an original 36-foot by 6-foot glass work that now adorns one of the distilleries barrel warehouses. Working together, they were able to take what is normally a dark and monotone color warehouse and turn it into a brightly colored, world of handblown glass sea creatures. The artwork consists of 750 hand-blown elements in blue, green, amber and signature Maker’s Mark red hues. There are several photos and a video below that will tell the tale of The Spirit of the Maker.

“Chihuly at Maker’s” – This Latest Addition Shines Bright Day and Night

The two craft maker’s have come together again but rather than brightening up a dimly lit warehouse, they have stepped outdoors to take advantage of natural daylight and some brightly lit glassworks that shimmer in the night.

“I had the privilege to visit the landmark Maker’s Mark Distillery in 2014 when we worked together to install The Spirit of the Maker,” said artist Dale Chihuly.  “I was inspired then by its unique landscape and architecture and am excited to share my (new) work from the perspective of its special surroundings.”

Chihuly’s latest work features stunning sculptures of glass and steel arranged around the distillery grounds in an exhibit specifically designed for the landscape and unique architecture of this National Historic Landmark distillery. This new project will be on display for an exclusive four-month run from July through October of this year at the distillery in Loretto, Kentucky.

“Chihuly at Maker’s” is comprised of six large-scale art installations sited throughout the distillery grounds. Included in the exhibition is: Summer Sun, a 12-foot tall blown glass and steel sculpture; a collection of five fiery-red Baskets; and an 18-foot wide Crimson and Chestnut Fiori Boat, which combines a range of forms massed together in a traditional wooden boat.

The Sapphire and Platinum Waterdrop Tower, which stands at approximately 12-feet, is a classic demonstration of Chihuly’s desire to mass color on a steel armature for dramatic effect. For centuries, blown glass pieces were small, intricately designed and admired from atop a table. In contrast, Chihuly’s towers rise from the ground like huge stalagmites and have been an iconic aesthetic of installations in art museums and botanical gardens worldwide. Like all Chihuly sculptures, the Sapphire and Platinum Waterdrop Tower was designed specifically for its location, in this case, in front of the distillery’s whiskey cellar and natural water source.

“Just as my grandparents, the founders of Maker’s Mark, first envisioned, we’re committed to enhancing our visitor experience with culturally immersive opportunities unlike any other distillery in the world,” said Rob Samuels, the eighth-generation whisky maker and Chief Operating Officer of Maker’s Mark. “Creating our handmade bourbon isn’t a job – it’s an art form. It’s an honor to have formed such a lasting relationship with world-renowned artist Dale Chihuly.”

The official Grand Opening of Chihuly at Maker’s will take place Saturday, July 1, 2017 at 6:30 p.m., with a viewing picnic at the Maker’s Mark distillery. In addition, on Saturday nights from July 22-Oct. 7, visitors will be able to enjoy the remarkable art of Dale Chihuly in a new way with “Chihuly Nights,” an exclusive and stunning look at the exhibition after dark. As the sun sets, guests will experience the enchanting glass sculptures glowing with light against the dark Kentucky sky.

“The Spirit of the Maker” by Artist Dale Chihuly

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